Canucks select Vasili Podkolzin at 10th overall

With their first selection of the 2019 NHL Draft at 10th overall, the Vancouver Canucks selected Vasili Podkolzin.

With an eye for the net, the Canucks get a bonafide goalscorer with their first pick of their hometown draft. Standing at 6-foot-1, the left-hand shot winger has been a phenom in the offensive zone as a member of the Russian national team that was highlighted at the Under-18 Worlds and the World Juniors in Vancouver.

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Described as a “bulldog”, Podkolzin has that nasty edge that every fan will love. With that, he has a skill of entering the zone and an elite finisher in this draft class.

He split his time last season between three leagues in Russia, the MHL, VHL and KHL, but he was able to keep consistent throughout all three.

He scored two goals and five points through 14 games in the VHL, where he spend the most time last season, but considering that league is Russia’s version of the AHL and he was playing among men, his production is not to worry about.

Not putting up the amount of points that is common among top prospects, Podkolzin is a very tools-heavy pick, having the speed, skill and stick handling to make a mark in Russia next season and hopefully with the Canucks as soon as he comes to North America.

Balancing physicality and skill, the Russian winger can blend in perfectly with the current Canucks team that might be lacking that. But there is a reason that the player was left for the Canucks to grab. He currently has a two-year contract in the KHL, meaning that it is assumed that he will not be playing professional hockey in North America until at least the 2021-22 season.

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A somewhat surprising pick for the Canucks, with their past of Russian players they were assumed to not take the risk.

Podkolzin is an elite-level offensive talent with a knack for getting in the faces of his opponents.

2019 Draft Countdown No. 3: Vasili Podkolzin

    • CamBurke

      Tryamkin 2.0 guys. Get ready for another Russian soap opera in Vancouver…..

      Lame, dangerous pick for a team that needs NHL ready help right away… you know, before the young core gets used to and demoralised from losing.

      Nope, Pod doesn’t move the dial whatsoever to achieve playoff hockey and you know it. Shoulda either traded up or thrown the pick into a blockbuster draft floor trade for a proven NHL stud to make a splash at our own draft party!

      Benning looked like Pal Bearer waddling up to the stage and Steamer sounded punch drunk messing the kids name up. No wonder Trevor walked away from this hot mess. #hometown draft fail

  • LTFan

    After the pick was announced Brian Burke said that Podkolzin was already NHL ready. The problem is to get him out of the KHL. Good value for a #10 pick who was rated higher on most prospect lists.

    • I am Ted

      I think he was rated higher on all legit prospect boards. It’s a good pick and there’s a chance they will be get him out after 1 year of service which would be great.

  • Killer Marmot

    Although Pod shoots left, he’s listed as a right winger (i.e., he plays the “wrong” wing). This suggests that he might be (or become) comfortable playing either side, a useful talent. Benning may have found the high-end left-winger he’s looking for.

    • Big Lonely Doug

      It’s taken a few years to develop GMJB, but everyone’s patience is paying off. He came to the Canucks with high end scouting ability but lack of experience in other areas. He’s been able to develop an all round game with the ability now to move up and down the lineup.

      He’s a surefire candidate for the NHL General Manager of the Year award (this award needs a sponsor like Viagra) in 2021.

  • EP40MVP

    watched this kid play in the WJCs he was solid if not spectacular good 2 way FW battled hard didnt score but had his chances. was in the top 3 last year+start of this season then bounced around the top 10 throughout the year i think hes going to be good its a good pick time will tell but this kid looks like a stud based on how much i’ve seen him play

  • Bucket

    Everyone rips on GMJB. If this prospect pans out, which we have every reason to believe he will, then he will have assembled a core here in Vancouver that I argue no GM has ever assembled in Vancouver. Think back and try and find a GM that has given us 3 Calder candidates in a row, one winner, maybe another winner next year, the runner up last year. A franchise center, a franchise puck moving d-man, a couple of elite wingers, a decade at least, of great goaltending… if in the next 10 years Vancouver wins a cup, it will be because of what GMJB has done over the last 5 years here that we will fondly look back at and praise him for. We will also all be wondering why we let him go by then too.

    Has anyone else noticed how much better he has gotten since Linden left? Maybe there were too many cooks in the kitchen?

      • Bucket

        Well said. There is no GM in history that has nailed 100% of all the moves they have made, no person in history for that matter. People are impatient and want results tomorrow. When they dont get them, the hate come out.

        • Dirty30

          Except I’ve been a fan for 50 years! Three failures to win a SC and now five years of futility. So there are some good players in place but look at the talent and depth on other teams and out three legit top line players followed by nothing until our $12 million dollar fourth line is not encouraging.

          Fifty years demonstrates a lot of patience for this team to finally get it done. 2011 was an absolute heartbreaker but the past 8 years haven’t been overly encouraging compared to what other teams have done.

          • CamBurke

            Spot on and feel for ya man. But hey, be careful of the slurper backlash… truth and facts don’t go over well with this crowd of saddos who live in their deluded bubble.

    • canuckfan

      Or maybe Linden saw a good time to exit so that he could go back to his personal life as he didn’t really want the job but loves the team and the city so he took on the job.

    • Doodly Doot

      Gillis was gifted Burke’s/Nonis’ work, and whomever may follow Benning will be gifted his work. If the Canucks make the playoffs this year, and I think they have a solid shot, Benning may do the improbable: get to stay around to enjoy the fruit of his long labours. We may look back and have to give some credit to ownership too. The future is unwritten (or maybe sketched on a napkin somewhere).

      • Bucket

        I compare us to the pens c. ’06 – ’07. After 4 years of near the bottom, rebuilding through the draft. Where they went from there is history. Obviously I’m being optimistic but if he pulls it off, without drafting higher than 5th as well? That will be something….

    • Whatthe...

      So true, Benning understands the mental side of the game. He has put in place some good vets and is now stocking the shelves with high end young talent.

      All general managers make mistakes but Benning is clearlying learning/improving, doesn’t let his ego get in the way (moves on from players if it isn’t working – even ones he acquired), and drafts like a boss.

  • canuckfan

    Wow in two more years this guy is going to be be bit stronger and bigger and both Quinn and Petey will be playing for more money and this kid will slide in on an entry level contract ready to rock and roll. Benning has been building us a team that will compete for a number of years with assets that can be moved and most important a team that will compete. I can wait another year watching a team that is able to play some big games but falls short of the playoffs and gets a lottery pick so that our cupboards are replenished. Good pick now get us some defenders.

    • Cageyvet

      This is an underappreciated nuance of this deal. A couple of years in the KHL, from the standpoint of time developing, is a lot like college time for the US kids, etc. The nice part is he won’t play a handful of games, and burn a year, we’ll get a full 3 years of his ELC.

    • Doodly Doot

      Not sure Goldy will be around, but the timing of possibly getting both Pod and Try at the same time in 2 years might end up being some very welcome good fortune.

  • sloth

    Great pick, seems like the best player available by far. They’ve clearly done their homework on his background and it sounds like the Canucks Russian scout Chibisov had developed a solid rap with the kid, translating his interviews, and I think this management group really values “character” especially in their top picks (FA’s Virtanen pick notwithstanding), so I trust their judgment that he’ll come be a happy NHLer in Vancouver.

    As for the timing, I really like the fact that he’s got 2 years in the KHL – obviously more development time is always safe, but also he’ll joins the team on an ELC after the Pettersson and Boeser extensions, giving them some budget years as those guys hit prime. But the biggest thing for me is the time to mature as a man in his home country, without any chance of the relationship being strained in the AHL or NHL, as an 18-19y.o. in a new country, with heightened media/fanbase scrutiny as a “flighty Russian,” in a market with a lot of baggage over Russian stars… I think he becomes significantly less of a risk to bolt for the KHL after he has had 2 more years to mature and prove himself over there, and hopefully the team can establish a solid relationship in the meantime so he’s ready to fly when he arrives.

    • Whackanuck

      Maybe Podkolzin goes straight to the NHL but I’m concerned if he has to go to Utica under Trent Cull who has a poor record integrating Europeans. The Canucks are drafting a lot of them-perhaps they’re counting on their development in the home country. Cull’s resume is rather thin-I don’t know what the Canucks see in him. Development is so important, especially with B prospects. Hard to develop when you’re expected to learn a 200 foot game in the press box.